Chai tea

Originally posted at keeping feet on 1/29/07
So, I just made the best chai latte this morning. Not the best I've ever had, to be sure, but the best I've ever made from a chai teabag. Even the best coffeeshops, as far as I've seen, use a syrup or powder to make the chai latte drink on their menu. While this is well & good, I have quite a few chai teabags that I'd like to use, and attempt to recreate the same flavor. Until this morning, I've been unsuccessful, for a variety of reasons:
  • The first obvious attempt with a chai teabag was to brew it like any other tea. I discovered this resulted in a spicy drink much too strong for my liking. I understand now why the popular way to drink chai is with lots of milk and sugar. Attempts to shorten the brewing time also failed.

  • Next, I tried preparing the chai by brewing different amounts of water and adding milk & sugar to the tea when it was done brewing. First lesson: you can't just brew a cup o' tea and add milk like you would to coffee. Still too strong. and you get this weird watery-milk taste that's no good.

  • I got to where I was brewing the tea in just half a mug of water and adding milk and sugar. The flavor was much better. The downside: the milk was cold, so having a mug 1/2 full of a cold liquid did not make a hot drink, even with extra, really hot water added right before drinking. Though some coffeeshops do market a cold chai, I was going for a hot drink.

  • Today's attempt: I brewed a little over half a cup of tea for over 4 minutes. While it was going, I got another mug, filled it halfway with milk, added a bit of cinnamon-vanilla creamer I found in the fridge because it sounded like a good idea, and heated the milk mug up in the microwave. I added some sugar to the milk, and combined the tea & milk when the tea was done brewing. What resulted was sweet, creamy, chai-y, and warm, and was gone in a very short amount of time Seriously, I chugged it. It wasn't the same as having fancy coffee equipment and chai syrup, but was pretty good for a mid-morning-at-work treat. Also, this was way cheaper than forking over $4 at Starbucks (and I don't even like Starbucks chai that much. Borders is the way to go. or The MT Cup in Muncie. But Borders is closer.)

I will surely continue to refine the chai latte at work, but I'm glad all my failed attempts finally paid off. Yay.

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